Three Common Factors that Cause PCB Failures


Printed circuit boards (PCB) are devices that have their own small components which work together to make an electronic device function, be it computers, equipment control panels, phone or tablets. Because of this, it’s important to ensure PCB’s are made and assembled perfectly so there will be no interruptions to how devices could work.

Printed boards can usually break down because of ecological hassles or operational problems that stem from their design and construction. Malfunctions can occur after years of usage or can be unintentionally incorporated into the circuit board while they are being made, leaving it unusable. However, most issues with PCB’s can be fixed.  Below are some of the common causes of PCB problems:

Component Issues

Components in PCB’s can burn because of high temperatures they go through, particularly when there is not enough space around components. Every component has a particular amount of heat it can tolerate and absorb and this tolerance depends on their structure and size. Also, old components can cause PCB’s to malfunction.

Moreover, the way components are packed can also cause damage to the components which will in turn cause PCB failures. Their package offers protection against the environment and allows for component connection to the circuit. When the barrier that protects the components from the outside elements break, factors like oxygen and humidity can speed up their aging and make them fail faster. A package’s mechanical failure can be due to thermal stress, ultraviolet light and chemical cleaners which can be prevented by adjusting their design accordingly and expecting such factors.

Environmental Factors

These problems happen when a PCB is not protected against anything which impacts its performance. Debris, wetness, and temperature are common variables which obstruct a PCB’s performance. But, unplanned impacts like electrostatic discharge, dropping or surplus power from power rush or lighting can also damage PCB’s.

Keep in mind that the majority of properly-made PCB’s can withstand an electrical fire breakout. Also, rudiments like dirt can corrupt the board by oxidizing it and obstructing its existence. PCB’s should not be exposed to extremely high temperatures on manufacturing grounds to prevent damages.

Manufacturing Issues

Any PCB manufacturing issues have to do with human inefficiency. From wrong diagram interpretation to component labeling, problems can emerge at any given point while designing and manufacturing PCB’s. A PCB manufacturer may have to deal with any of the following issues:

  • Bad solder job.
  • Meager trace padding that causes a voltage sweep.
  • The board is not thick enough that makes it bend or break easily.
  • Misplacement of pathways and traces that cause a short circuit.
  • Improper connection between board layers.

Printed circuit boards are the core of the majority of electronic devices and when their components fail, they will require PCB repairs. Although these issues can be repaired, it is always best to ensure the quality of each component and the PCB fabrication to avoid increasing the cost and prevent any future malfunctions. Getting quality PCB’s from reputable suppliers reduces the chances of getting bad PCB jobs.

Comments are closed.